China's controlled media culture hasn't stopped it developing a phenomena familiar in Western media, namely the celebrity anchor:
At just 31 years old, Rui Chenggang has emerged as the media face of Chinese capitalism: young, smart and, to the dismay of some, deeply nationalistic.
His nightly financial news program attracts 13 million viewers on China Central Television, the nation’s biggest state-run network, where Mr. Rui puts tough questions to Wall Street chiefs and Chinese economists while also delivering a dose of optimism about China’s outlook.
That was from 2009. Here's Rui profiled by the BBC in 2012:
At 35, he's already a veteran of the annual Global Economic Forum in Davos.
He's been going every year since he was 22. His book is filled with photos of him with people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. His private conversations contain references to them, too: "Rupert (Murdoch) told me... Henry (Kissinger) said..."
If he comes across in all of this as being a bit of a dick, that's also his reputation in China. But anyway, Rupert and Henry can't help him now:
Quoting an unnamed insider, Caixin.com said on its website that prosecutors took Rui away directly from the workplace without notifying the news program. Caixin said Rui had been scheduled to appear on the nightly newscast Friday, and his absence was conspicuous, as a second microphone remained on the set. The show is usually anchored by two people.
This is connected to the Guo Zhenxi affair, which I blogged about here, in which the director of CCTV's business coverage stands accused of using it to fuel a huge extortion racket. Presumably the Discipline Inspectors suspect Rui of having some role in the caper.
His last book, by the way, was called Something for Nothing.
UPDATE: The NYT quotes a local journalism professor to the effect that Rui was arrested for economic crimes committed in a professional capacity, ie by the ordinary police, not by the Discipline Inspectors, though the case still seemns to be connected to Guo.
More importantly, it seemsto revolve around a PR company Rui founded in 2002, which was later bought out by the Edelman Group: The co-founder of the company went on to head Edelman's China operations and to work closely with CCTV. I've seen other reports that if you wanted to get onto CCTV then you hired Mr Rui's PR company, and, perhaps, Edelman. It may also have been a good way to protect yourself from negative publicity by the channel, but we'll see. That being the case, it'll be interesting to see how many foreigners and foreign businesses took part in the caper. Also, this:
Pegasus found a studio for CCTV 2 that was 200 yards away from the main venue during the winter 2009 session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and that was apparently praised by Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, for being “the most cozy and comfortable studio in all of Davos,” the report said.
That's got to be the ultimate Blair quote.